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Is that a giant ice cream in the middle of London?

August 07, 2020 08:53 IST

What must be one of the largest ice cream cones in the world now graces London’s famous Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth.

IMAGE: A member of the public takles a photograph of the new addition to the Forth Plinth, entitled 'The End' by British artist Heather Phillipson in Trafalgar Square in London, England. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Don't worry it's not a real cone melting away in the sun, but the 13th installation of the landmark’s Fourth Plinth, the site for a rolling commission of public artworks.

The bold and graphic installation, called "The End,", which features a giant swirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a fly and a drone, is the work of British artist Heather Phillipson, and will stand on the plinth until spring 2022.

 

The 9.4 metre (30.8 feet) sculpture is the tallest of the 13 commissions in an ongoing series that began in 1998, after the plinth was left empty for more than 150 years.

IMAGE: The sculpture depicts a whirl of cream topped with parasites and a drone that films passers who can view the footage online. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The unveiling was delayed by four months due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while the giant dessert can be seen as a jubilant gesture, it also looks like the sweet treat might be slowly melting, as the fly and the drone scale its peak.

Ekow Eshun, chairman of the Fourth Plinth commissioning group, described the new work as 'audacious and beguiling'.

"It expresses something of the fraught times that we're currently living through while also standing in conversation with the artistic and social history of Trafalgar Square," he was quoted as saying.

IMAGE: The sculpture stands tall at 9.4 metre and is the tallest among all the installations at the spot. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

"I'm sure this this will be a hugely popular commission that will inspire everyone who sees it physically and experiences it digitally."

Phillipson said her work draws on the political and physical aspects of the square and the plinth.

IMAGE: Heather Phillipson poses next to her sculpture ''THE END'', after it was unveiled on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth, in London. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

The artist said that she was honoured her work was now sitting in Trafalgar Square, adding that it magnified "the banal, and our cohabitation with other lifeforms, to apocalyptic proportions".

"For me, we've been at a point of some kind of implosion for a long time. When I was thinking of this work there was a sense... of an undercurrent that was already there.

IMAGE: Described as representing 'exuberance and unease' and a 'monument to hubris and impending collapse, the installation will stay in place until spring 2022. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

"I came up with the idea in 2016 which was already, for me, quite a tricky political moment," she said, because of the 'Brexit (vote) and the rumblings of Trump's imminent election' in the US.

"This feels like a continuation of that ... the idea of something being on the verge of collapse. The pandemic ... attunes them to a slightly higher frequency."

IMAGE: Members of the public walk past the new addition to the Forth Plinth, entitled 'The End' by British artist Heather Phillipson in Trafalgar Square. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

IMAGE: The installation was postponed by four months because of the impact of coronavirus. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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